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caswell 06-16-2004 02:56 PM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
I''m in the middle of working towards a dream which has possessed me for the past year - a slow, extended, single-handed cruise from Ireland (where I live) to Spain, the Canaries, the Carribean and (possibly!) beyond.

I''ve been crewing for over a year on several boats and have over 2000 miles under my belt, including lots of night, anchoring and other experience and some heavy weather experience. I''ve done a few weeks intensive dingy-sailing, had a taste of the Atlantic off the Irish West coast and around the Canaries, done basic navigation and VHF courses, and read and read and read countless books and magazines. I''ve been up the mast, alone at the helm all night beating into a F7 and helped a friend change his stern gland and cutlass bearings. Now I feel I''m ready to buy my own boat.

I have an idea what I want. I want a boat that''s solid, simple and easy to handle and maintain. Speed, space and luxury are all secondary criteria. I''ve no problem economising on water or diesel, so tanks aren''t hugely important (within reason). I''m used to living simply and actually enjoy it. Most importantly, since I have little money, I am looking for something as cheap as possible!!

Some of the things I''d like (or think I''d like) in a boat are:

- A long keel the length of the hull (for steady handling and gripping waves in heavy weather)

- A solid skeg rudder hung from the stern (simple and easy to get at if necessary)

-A high positive stability range

-A separate forecabin and separate head

After looking at the boats available, the little money I have and the criteria above, I''ve had a few ideas:

Realistically I''m looking for something 25'' to 29''. I''ve discounted a Folkboat because of the wood (weaker than GRP and needs more attention). However I''m very attracted to David Sadler''s boats (which I believe are partly based on the Folkboat). The Sadler 25 is a possibility, and I''d love an unsinkable Sadler 26 or Sadler 29 - but they''re out of my price range. I''m also attracted to the Contessa, especially the cheaper Contessa 26. However there don''t seem to be too many of these for sale in Europe.

I''ve read a little bit about Carl Alberg''s Pearson Triton, which I believe was also influenced by the Folkboat and seems very affordable. However there don''t seem to be any of these for sale in Europe.

I would be very, very grateful if any experienced sailors and cruisers could offer their views on my plans and my search for an affordable boat for long distance, long term cruising. Am I on the right track? Do you know of any other boats that might fit my criteria? What might be the best way to find such a boat?

I know that picking the right boat involves a series of trade-offs, and I''m not expecting perfection - especially on my budget! My plan is to sail the boat for a year in Irish waters while outfitting it and honing my skills before heading off towards the end of the summer of 2005. Any ideas or other help would be much appreciated!

Thank you very much.

Jeff_H 06-16-2004 06:36 PM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
A couple quick thoughts here; first of all the Folkboats were built in both glass and wood. The wooden ones were stronger and had a higher ballast ratio, but they were more maintenance and are mostly quite long in the tooth. The various glass versions and adaptations are wonderful boats in many ways. I owned a lapstrake wooden Folkboat in the 1970''s it was a wonderful boat in almost all ways. That said they were cramped and had minimal carrying capcity by any reasonable standard.

The Triton was in no way related to the Folkboat. They began life as a CCA era race boats and have none of the balance and ease of handling of a Folkboat. They also lack the Folkboat''s large angle of positive stability. While Triton''s have done some wonderful voyages I would say that their success is despite the boat rather than because of it.


caswell 06-17-2004 02:52 AM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
Thanks, Jeff

That''s the Triton off my list then! Have you any thoughts on boats that might suit my purpose and criteria - i.e. a solid, simple, inexpensive offshore & liveaboard boat?



aflanigan 06-17-2004 06:45 PM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
Just an off the cuff impression, looking for an "inexpensive offshore and liveaboard boat" sounds like looking for an inexpensive 4X4 and winnebago. You said luxury and space are secondary considerations, so it sounds like you''re looking for something like a van with 4X4 capability and ruggedness and you''re willing to camp out in it as you drive around the outback. Lots of archived messages on this board will convince you there''s no shortage of suitable vessels capable of single handed extended cruising if you are willing to sacrifice comfort; Jeff usually wisely steers people towards racer/cruiser designs, particularly more recent vintage, but your "Inexpensive" stipulation may limit the possibilities. Just how limited is your budget? It''s going to be a lot harder to find a boat that meets your requirements on a shoestring.

Allen Flanigan

Jeff_H 06-18-2004 03:58 AM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
This is a tough question. I don''t know what your budget is, so it is a little hard to give you a very specific answer but in a general sense, you are asking for something that is pretty rare.

To begin with the traditional rule of thumb for a distance cruising boat is a displacement of 2 1/2 to 5 long tons per person (roughly 5500 to 11000 lbs). That would suggest a boat between 25 and 30 feet with the boats at the longer end of the range obviously giving more room, speed and in a general sense more seaworthiness.

If you are going to keep your costs down, you are probably looking for a 25 to 40 year old boat. But 25 to 40 year old boats tend to be very tired. Recent studies suggest that fiberglass becomes more brittle over time and that early fiberglass boats, which tend to lack internal framing systems are especially prone to reduced strength due to fatigue and poor layup practices. Unless well maintained and upgraded by the prior owner you can expect to find what I call the ''old boat litany'' on any boat this age. Unless very well maintained and updated by a previous owner, you might expect to need to address some combination of the following items:
Sails, chainplates, mast step and associated suporting structure, standing and running rigging that are beyond their useful lifespan,
an engine that is in need of rebuild or replacement,
worn out or out of date deck, galley, and head hardware,
worn out upholstery,
Out of date safety gear
electronics that are non operational, or in need of updating,
electrical and plumbing systems that need repairs, upgrades to modern standards or replacement.
Blister, fatigue, rudder, rotten bulkheads, failed tabbing, hull deck joint or deck coring problems
Keel bolt replacement (bolt on keel) or delamination of the hull from the ballast for a glassed in keel.
And perhaps a whole range of aesthetic issues.

It can easily cost as much as the boat is worth to address even a partial combination of these items.

Then there is the suitability issue. Most of the boats that get built in any given year (and this is especially true of small boats) are biased towards coastal cruising and club level racing. Small boats designed for offshore were extremely rare in that period in which the prices are likely to be affordable. Small boats generally tend to be shaped to some extent by the racing rules of the era. In the 1960''s this produced boats that had very short waterlines for their length which greatly diminishes thier motion comfort, carrying capacity, seaworthiness, and speed. In the 1970''s small boats were greatly influenced by the IOR Rule which tended to produce boats which were short on stability and motion comfort, and had inconvenient rigs and poor tracking capabilities.

This leaves you looking for something of a needle in a haystack. Probably my default answers would be a F.G. Folkboat (or derivative like a Marieholms, or Contessa 26), a Tartan 27, a Seawind Ketch, or one of the fiberglass H-28 derivatives that were built by a number of companies, with the Tartan 27 being my first choice.

Other choices might include such boats as a Albin Vega, Cal 2-29, Mariner 28, Mirage 27, Morgan 28 (1960''s), Paceship PY26, Pacific Seacraft 25, Rhodes Ranger 38 (which is not the same as a Ranger 28), Sabre 28, Soverel 28, Tartan 30, Westerly 28, Winga 860.

Some of these are pretty modern designs and others are a bit more traditional. My sense is that you would be better served by the boats in the earlier short list but hopefully these will give you a range of designs as a starting point in your search.

Good luck,

caswell 06-18-2004 10:56 AM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
Thank you very much, Allen and Jeff,

Your information and advice is very useful.

What I''m trying to do is develop a list of possibilities before I go looking for a boat. I''m planning to tour harbours and yacht clubs as well as check the magazines and websites (I''ve heard that more boats are for sale than are advertised). The idea is to first get a good overview of the market including what boats I''m looking for, what the prices are like, things to watch out for, etc., etc. I have a relatively inexpensive surveyor lined up for Ireland and possibly the UK.

My budget, like everything else, is a trade-off!. The cheaper the boat, the sooner I can leave. The longer I wait, the more boat I can afford. Right now my budget looks about Euro 15,000 (US$18,000 or so), with another Euro 5,000 ($6,000) or so in equipment/maintainance/upgrades/provisions after purchase.

I guess another criteria for my search is that the boat should be available in Europe - preferably Ireland or the UK. Following your advice I did some research on the Tartan 27, but there don''t seem to be too many of them on this side of the Atlantic.

Right now (and after your input and some research) my list of possible boats includes a GRP folkboat, Marieholm IF Boat (International Folkboat), Marieholm 26 or 28, Albin Vega, Contessa 26, and Sadler 25, 26 or 29. I still have to check out some of the others you''ve mentioned!

Do you know anything about the Hurley 27?

Any and all other information or advice would be more than welcome.

Thanks again for all your help!

Kind regards,


john gov 06-18-2004 05:42 PM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
Here is a different angle of attack. You have the right idea, seem to have a good sense approach, and your budget should land you a boat that you will feel comfortable and safe with.
Here is what you can do. Gather a few Euros together, book a cheap flight to the US,and poke around New England for your dream boat.
US Route #1 runs alongthe coast. Stick to it, make some friends, and you will find what you are looking for.
This is still America , where your dreams can come true. John Gov.

Sasha_V 06-18-2004 05:50 PM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
I disagree a bit.
Yes, you do need to look further afield the Ireland, but I would shop smart instead of big (U.S).

The internet is a wonderful thing. I suggest you check out brokers in Malta and other gateway ports.

What you will find is a great many boats that have just completed an ocean crossing intact, but with a crew that is now broke. In short boats that have lasted far better then the relationships of their owners.
They park the boat, she catches one plane, he hands the boat over to a broker and catches another. Divorce lawyers are duly employed and the boat gets cheaper by the week.

In addition, your money will go further in terms of exchange rates and sales taxes.

Do some internet browsing with these thoughts in mind. You have nothing to lose but a couple of hours net surfing.


mmccoy 06-18-2004 08:50 PM

Help me find my budget dream boat!

Given the current exchange rates would the opposite be true as well? i.e. a U.S. citizen looking in foreign ports for those orphaned boats (assuming one would want to make the crossing back to the U.S.)

I''m looking for a comfortable, 32 foot ''ish ocean going liveaboard but what I''m finding in the U.S. seems to be on the wrong side of my funding.

Sasha_V 06-18-2004 10:27 PM

Help me find my budget dream boat!
I am just passing on wisdom from friends at the yacht club who have just gotten back from circumnavigating. They stopped at malta on the way to the Dalmation Islands area and said that in the week they spent their the temptation to "upgrade" to a larger and fancier boat was almost irresistable. Yachts they could not hope to have afforded in Australia were fully outfitted and going to pot in the harbour at malta with prices at around 50% and dropping.
They showed some very nice and drool-inspiring slides too.

The opinion seemd to be that folks with the really top end boats can afford to have them delivered to soemwhere where they will get a better price. So what you tend to find are the cruisers that have been optimised for "couples" that then don''t have the resources to do anything but try to sell where they park.

You now know as much as I do. Get ont he internet and google away.


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